SportsTurf

September 2018

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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www.spor tsturfonline.com 18 // September 2018 W hen painting and athletic fi eld are mentioned in the same sentence, we most commonly think of those freshly painted lines and logos that athletic fi eld managers spend countless hours perfecting for the next sporting event. However, painting fi elds may be about nothing more than making the surface green. Painting bermudagrass athletic fi elds with turf colorants has become a common practice to enhance winter color of heavily traffi cked overseeded athletic fi elds as well as low-use non-overseeded fi elds. The use of turf colorants rather than overseeding reduces agronomic inputs and can result in a more predictable spring green-up. Whether turf colorants are used to accentuate the natural green color of an actively growing turf or simply to provide color during winter months, it is important to apply these products at the ideal time to maximize product functionality while minimizing the potential for problems. Types of products for specific uses Generally, colorant products fall into three categories: paints, "pigments," or dyes. In simple terms, the difference among these categories involves the amount of binder and pigment ingredient in the product. Binder creates adhesion of pigment to turfgrass leaf blades, suggesting its importance in regard to product longevity. The extended life of paints can be attributed to increased levels of binder, which are typically resin based. Paints have binder amounts that usually comprise between 10 to 40% of the concentrated product, whereas the pigments have much lower amounts of binder. Paints contain mostly insoluble pigments designed for opacity compared to pigments and dyes that have soluble organic pigments that provide color with very little opacity. These products between paints and dyes are often termed "pigments" by the turfgrass industry. The term "pigments" thus refers to low-binder products that have the opacity characteristics of paints. The products with a higher percentage of binder (but less than that of paint) are often termed as "colorants" by the turfgrass industry. There are many different products on the market and knowledge of product formulation can be very benefi cial to athletic fi eld managers when selecting a colorant for application. Air temperature at colorant application Our research has identifi ed great variability in measured color parameters and physical properties among turf colorants. For example, vast differences in fl uid viscosity of turf colorants suggest colorant formulation may influence colorant performance. During some of our earlier trials, we found certain products were prone to tracking as well as extensive off-target staining during the application process. Athletic fi eld managers have enough fi eld issues to worry about without the concern for staining of athlete uniforms. To better characterize products for staining potential, we developed techniques that allow us to evaluate turf colorant transfer onto absorbent materials similar to athlete uniforms (Fig. 1). Throughout the past few years, we have screened more than 30 products for colorant transfer potential. As expected, results have varied substantially among the products tested. Some products transfer non-discernable amounts of colorant one day after colorant application, while two products stained cloth at unacceptable levels up to 6 weeks after application. Elevated levels of colorant transfer multiple weeks after colorant application has been the exception as even the poor- performing products produced acceptable transfer levels by 14 days following application. Considering those results, a product that has increased colorant transfer potential can still be a viable option for field managers if applied far enough Application conditions influence turf colorant performance // By DREW PINNIX AND GRADY MILLER, PHD Fig. 1. Colorant transfer sample collected from treated plot. Transfer amounts quantified with NDVI reflectance device.

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